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Education and Schools

Greece - Education and Schools

Like other countries in Europe, Greece has high standards of education. In addition, the country has a high student population. Many expats find the education system in Greece appealing.

Over the years, the education system in Greece has undergone reforms to keep up with the best education systems in the world. Despite these efforts, the country faces many challenges in its education sector. The quality of education provided is not the same in all schools, which is reflected in student performance. Expats are allowed to study in any Greek school and at any education level. Residents in Greece attend public schools for free. Most of the private schools in Greece are extensions of UK and American schools, and tuition for these is paid annually.

Preschool is available although it is not mandatory. Enrolment in crèches starts from the age of two and half. Children in Greece are required to enroll in primary school from the age of six until fifteen when they finish their lower secondary education. Pupils can later continue in general upper secondary schools, vocational upper secondary schools, or vocational training institutes. Once students obtain certification from any of these institutions, they can seek higher education in universities or technical training institutions.

The requirements for enrolling your child in a school in Greece include the birth certificate of the child and parents and the vaccination certificate of the child. Greece students do not wear uniforms and the school year runs from the 11th of September to the 15th of June for the primary level and 11th of June to the 30th of June in the secondary level. Schools open from Monday to Friday from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. The school year has four weeks of holidays and 174 school days.

As mentioned earlier, preschool is not mandatory but slowly it is becoming compulsory. Childcare services in Greece include crèches, kindergartens, and nurseries that run from September 1st to June 21st. The learning hours of Kindergartens are from 8am to 4:30 in the evening while crèches operate up to 12:30 pm.

Elementary school has a six-year program where kids are taught mathematics, Greek language, history, information technology, environmental studies, art, physical education, and English. When kids reach the fifth and sixth grade, geography, social studies, natural science, civics, and another foreign language are added to their subjects. The grading system consists of four main grades: A for Excellent, B for very good, ᴦ for good, and E for fail. From fourth grade, grading is done by numbers; 9-10 for excellent; 7-8 very good; 5-6 good; and 1-4 fail. Students receive their leaving certificates once they have successfully completed the sixth grade. They can use this certificate to register for secondary school.

Lower secondary school is for children between the age of twelve to fifteen. Subjects include history, foreign languages, ancient Greek language and literature, computer science, mathematics and modern Greek language and literature. In addition, there are special education schools including music schools, ecclesiastic education schools, intercultural education schools and foreign language schools.

Upper secondary school is noncompulsory. Students who are interested in enrolling at university are required to enroll for a three-year or a four-year upper secondary school program. Pupils with an interest in technical arts enroll in either vocational education training school or vocational upper secondary school. The last three years focus on vocational education, technical subjects, and workshop exercises. The upper secondary level offers formal vocational training, with student selection happening twice a year in September and at the end of January.

Private schools in Greece offer all levels of education. The annual fee ranges between 1500 Euros and 13000 Euros depending on the grade and school. One of the reasons why many parents put their children into private schools is because they believe these schools provide better quality of education. Private learning institutions implement the national curriculum and give students the same titles as those of public schools. Expatriates living in Greece who choose to enroll their children in private schools can select schools that follow the state curriculum or those that offer foreign education programs. Many expat students attend private schools that offer foreign education curricula. However, Greek is a compulsory language in all schools, even those with a foreign curriculum.

Higher education in Greece is controlled by the state. It is divided into technological education institutions and universities. In Greece, there are about 22 universities and over 30 TEIs spread throughout the country. TEIs specialize in science and production. Students who cannot attend classes for any reason can enroll at the Hellenic Open University, which offers distance education for undergraduate, postgraduate, and adult education programs. The classes in this university are taught in Greek and grading is done through a number system. Undergraduate degrees are awarded after four or five years, master’s degrees after a year or two, while doctorate programs take three to six years to complete.

The performance of students in the nationwide upper secondary school examinations determines their admission to universities. Although Greece integrated the Bologna Process in 1999, the formal transition to the standards has yet to be completed because many students in the country are against the reforms. Many private universities are simply branches of UK and US universities. Such universities accept students with degrees from other universities. However, their tuition is usually higher than that of the public universities in Greece.

University students are required to participate in higher education programs such as Arion, Socrates, Lingua, Erasmus, Tempus, and Leonardo. You are required to submit a medical checkup certificate, resident permits, and a Greek language certificate to be eligible for admission to a university in Greece. EEA and EU students in public universities in Greece do not need to pay tuition, whereas non-EU member students are expected to pay an average tuition fee of 1500 Euros. You will also need to provide your high school certificate and proof of knowledge of Greek to be eligible for admission in a university in Greece.

Read more about this country

Information courtesy of Carol Palioudaki, author of The Cool Guide to Living in Crete, available at www.livingincrete.net

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